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Volunteering Case Studies

Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health and can help counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety.

Lunch Clubs - Serving the heart of the community in Dorset

Volunteers are making a real difference to thousands of people's lives in Dorset thanks to a network of more than 120 lunch clubs.

Up to 7,000 meals are produced every month, enabling older people to get out and socialise, alleviating isolation and loneliness in many.

One of the most recent lunch clubs - funded through the POPP Community Commissioning Fund - has been set up in Stour Provost.

Rosie Gall, Early Help/POPP Champion, said she was delighted with the launch: "We were determined to get this club up and running and we are getting people from across many of the local villages including East Stour, Woodville, Todber and Sturminster.

"One gentleman who is very deaf and recently bereaved was undecided about coming, but decided to "give it a go".  To see him smiling and happy makes a real difference.  To me, that's what the job is all about."

Volunteer Jackie Grohmann said she had decided to help out because she wanted to support older people: "It's good to know that you can provide a great hot meal and the opportunity for people to get out and meet others in a friendly environment."

Patricia Yonwin runs the year old monthly lunch club at Winfrith Newburgh in Purbeck and she says the rota of 20 volunteers helps bring the community together: "It's a great way of getting to know people and make friendships.  There is a lot of camaraderie, sense of purpose and fellowship among the 50-60 people who attend regularly," she said.

Jane Hutchings, Early Help/POPP Community Development Worker, said volunteers were the lynchpin of the service.

"We have a large number of fantastic volunteers - a great resource across the county - and I would encourage others to set up more lunch clubs."

Councillor Jill Haynes,Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Health Care and Independence, said: "It is great that volunteers are helping bring people together.  For isolated, older people, going to lunch clubs is about meeting friends, socialising and getting out of their home - not just about a hot meal."

If you are interested in starting a lunch club, Dorset Early Help/POPP can provide support and possible funding of up to £2,000 via the Community Commissioning Fund.

Helping People with Dementia

People struggling with dementia in Purbeck are receiving a helping hand thanks to funding through POPP for the launch of Swanage Area Dementia Friendly Community and Wareham & District Dementia Friendly Community.

Volunteer Jean Gibbs, the lead for Swanage Area Dementia Friendly Community, identified a need for a singing group in Swanage which is now successfully running with initial funding received from POPP.

Jean said one of the singing group members is 86 years old and used to sing in a dance band, while another is 68 and has dementia.  They always sit alongside each other - help with the words and just have fund together, she added.  "Everyone can come together and be equal and this is helping people with dementia be equal and accepted within the community,

"Music is the most powerful empathetic way of communication.  It needs no complicated formula to touch the inner mind no matter how much people have lost."

Carers and those with dementia will feel confidence within the community knowing there is support and empathy in social and business premises.

Volunteer Annie Carroll, who runs the singing group, said music reached a different part of the brain for people that had lost the ability to speak.

"It raised energy levels and people go away feeling as if they are engaging with the world", she added.

The Singing for Pleasure Group meets on the second and fourth Thursday at 2pm at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Swanage.

Last year, the Alzheimer's Society (opens in a new window) reported that there were 10,000 people living with the disease in the country with the number growing each year.  One in three people are or will be affected by dementia - either as carers, someone close to us or having the illness ourselves.




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